Effect of harvest practices on a culturally-significant plant, Salvia apiana (white sage)

Adlof, Cassidy - California State University Northridge

Over the last 20 years there has been an increased demand for wild non-timber plant products (Cunningham 2001, Ticktin 2004). With the added stress of a human-caused pressures, such as fragmentation, culturally important plants need to be examined to ensure their continued survival.  Salvia apiana is a plant used in cleansing/purification ceremonies.  This study examined 1. how different ethnic and spiritual groups acquire Salvia apiana and their harvest practices and 2. how plants respond to different harvest practices.  Individuals were surveyed to learn about their harvest practices and combinations of harvest treatments were used on wild plants to examine their biological effect.  Treatments included gathering technique (by hand, cutting, leaf only), amount (0%, 5%, 25%, 50%), and season (spring, summer).  While different ethnic and spiritual groups acquire and harvest plants differently; these different harvest practices did not have a significant impact on plant size, leaf-volume ratio or flower abundance.